At least four people were reportedly arrested Friday morning after police officers disrupted peaceful protest in Abuja.
The group of approximately 50 people had gathered at the National Assembly around 7 a.m. to demand an end to police brutality and to call for widespread reforms within government.
Activist Omoyele Sowore was present at the scene and told newsmen, “we had completed the process when the police came and attacked us… We we were leaving and from nowhere they brought in more reinforcements and started attacking”.
Video footage obtained from the Sahara Reporters publisher shows protesters leaving the protest site calmly as a tear gas canister is fired at them – the crowd is then pursued by security forces.
Sowore also said that security forces smashed the rear window of his car as he was leaving the scene.
Another protester who was present at the scene, Raphael Adebayo, said on Twitter that “at least 4 protestors were arrested”.
This newspaper was unable to reach the Nigeria police spokesperson, Frank Mba, for comment, despite sending repeated calls and messages.
The protest this morning comes on the back of similar protests by the group at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport and the police headquarters in Abuja last Sunday.
Those events had gone by largely without incident.
Newsmen had, on Thursday, reported a statement from the Lagos police claiming that they would not allow “any planned protest, procession or gathering” in the state, leaving some to wonder if this policy would be enforced nationwide.
The Lagos police said the decision to ban protests was because the state was still recovering from the looting, killings, and destruction of several properties following a clampdown on #EndSARS protesters demanding police reform.